“There’s no talks”: Toto Wolff rules out signing Max Verstappen as a potential Lewis Hamilton replacement

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Qualifying
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Scuderia Toro Rosso speaks with Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff as he arrives in the paddock before final practice ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 22, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Toto Wolff confirmed stalled negotiations with Max Verstappen to recruit him to Mercedes for 2025 and beyond. Speaking to onsite media in Spain, the Austrian further clarified that Lewis Hamilton's replacement remains undecided.

Having openly pursued Max Verstappen in the earlier stages of the season, Wolff had made his intentions of recruiting him clear. Despite denial from both Red Bull and the Dutchman, the speculation surrounding a potential move to Mercedes has not ended. Although Kimi Antonelli seems like a possibility, rumors about the reigning champion moving camps resurfaced around the Monaco GP.

Categorically denying any conversations with Max Verstappen, Wolff confirmed that there were no talks between Mercedes and the Dutchman at the moment. He suggested that the team’s priorities were focused on improving their car and their performance.

However, he also ruled out speculation about Antonelli being confirmed for 2025. From his statements, it seemed as if the Silver Arrows squad wanted to bide their time before taking any decision to confirm their driver lineup for 2025 and beyond.

Asked if he could confirm if Mercedes were in talks with Max Verstappen, Wolff said:

“No there's no talks that are taking place at this stage because I think we need to take we need to look up on ourselves and on improving the car.”

Asked about reports suggesting that Antonelli was confirmed as a Mercedes driver for 2025, Wolff said:

“No, no driver decision has been made. And I said we want to keep this decision as long as possible because who knows you know, what happens.”

Toto Wolff believes Mercedes producing a competitive car could lure Max Verstappen

Toto Wolff feels Mercedes producing a competitive car could lure Max Verstappen to the team. Outlining Mercedes’ priorities, he suggested their current focus was to improve their performance and target podiums and wins. However, he does not feel that their performance swing is too late to convince the Dutch champion to join their team.

Asked if their performance swing was too late to lure Max Verstappen to the team, Wolff said:

“No, I think we need to just continue to improve and look at ourselves, you know, most important is to have a team with our drivers, Lewis and George. We just got to get better and hopefully consolidate our ability to be on the podium and at a certain stage be able to win races on our own. And you know if you have a good car, good drivers would want to come.”

With Max Verstappen admitting that Red Bull's dominance is history, the field converging has created opportunities for other teams. If Mercedes can return to their winning ways, the 25-year-old could consider leaving his current team.

Recent reports in the German publication F1 Insider claim that the Mercedes board chairman Ola Kallenius has openly declared interest in pursuing the triple champion. From the current driver market situation, it seems that Wolff is being patient in his pursuit of the Dutchman.

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Edited by Vaishnavi Iyer
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